Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Finding a Place for Music Therapy Practice in a Hospital Child Development Service

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posted on 2021-11-12, 10:04 authored by McGann, Helen Sian

This exegesis examines the beginnings of a music therapy practice at a hospital Child Development Service (CDS) in New Zealand, looking at the issues involved in setting up this practice during a student placement over a period nine months. The research is an exploratory case study (Yin 2009) which aims to identify issues through secondary analysis of clinical documentation, using thematic analysis to code and analyse the clinical data. Five core issues were revealed which included: working with team members, interacting with the children's family, issues in the implementation of the intervention, reflections on the student's experience and working within hospital policies and procedures. A case vignette is used to describe an example of arising issues and important factors when working with team members and family. The results of the study suggest that service development is a complex process, showing the importance of collaboration within the multidisciplinary team and involving family members in sessions. In terms of beginning a new music therapy practice in this specific setting, it was found that music therapy was filling a gap in what the child development team could provide. It was also found that there are several factors to consider when establishing a paid position within the service. It is important to create a balance between working within the medical framework philosophy of the hospital and providing a holistic and an empathetic level of care for the families. The project aims to inform other music therapy practitioners and students beginning or establishing work in new settings.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Hoskyns, Sarah